The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A star has gone mad and has infected others with its madness, threatening all of creation. Dream of the Endless must put right something he left undone years ago. With him are a girl named Hope and another version of himself in the form of a cat...
Confession time (I've been confessing a lot this week): In my late teens/early twenties, most of the comics I read were Vertigo or Vertigo-esque. The Sandman was at or near the front of the pack. I started in trade paperbacks and read the last ten or so issues as they appeared. For me, they hearken back to my days of wasting time majoring in art and drinking with my friends and playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Who was it that said you can't go home again? Thomas Wolfe, maybe? Well, that fucker was wrong, whoever he was. While I didn't know I was getting the first big honkin' Sandman omnibus for Christmas when I bought this, it feels like the perfect way to kickoff the reread.
The Sandman: Overture is the prelude to the entire Sandman saga. Ever wonder why some two-bit magician snared Dream in the 20's? This book takes the long way around but explains things pretty well.
Like most Sandman stories, lots of concepts and ideas are thrown around, and the power of dreams proves to be pretty powerful. A star goes mad and Dream comes a-callin'. Along the way, he encounters a lot of old characters, along with some previously unseen ones. Curious about who spawned The Endless? Wonder no more!
Gaiman successfully captured the feel of his earlier work and this fit pretty seamlessly into the Sandman mythology. His partner in crime for this endeavor, J.H. Williams, more than pulls his share of the weight. I can see why it took two years for this series to be completed. Williams packs unbelievable amounts of detail into every page. I especially loved the artwork when the various aspects of Dream convene to figure out what happened. It ranked right up there with multiple versions of The Doctor or the Eternal Champion meeting himself/herself/itself.
That's pretty much all I want to say for fear of spoiling things. Most prequels suck but, for my time and money, this one succeeds beyond measure. Five out of five stars.
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